Running Playlist O – S

  1. Oblivion. Grimes.
  2. Oh L’Amour. Erasure
  3. Oh My God. Ida Maria
  4. Om Mangalam. Anu Malik
  5. On Top Of The World. Imagine Dragons.
  6. Our Trip. The Thermals.(this one is great if you’re feeling angtsy)
  7. Party Like A Rock Star. Shop Boyz
  8. Party Rock Anthem. LMAFAO
  9. Pass The Mic. Beastie Boys.
  10. People Got a Lot Of Nerve. Neko Case.
  11. A Pillar Of Salt. The Thermals.
  12. Pumped Up Kicks. Foster The People.
  13. Ranking Full Stop. The English Beat
  14. Red Eyed Troll. The Muffs.
  15. Rock It For Me. Caravan Palace.
  16. Romance. Wild Flag.
  17. Safari Disco Club. Yelle
  18. Safe and Sound. Capital Cities.
  19. Salty Dog. Flogging Molly.
  20. Shake It Off. Taylor Swift.

Other parts of the list:


the battle with fear


“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

This day 6 years ago I faced the scariest, most heart-breaking thing I have ever experienced in my life. I sat at the bedside of my step-father as he died. It was frightening to watch him leave us forever. It was frightening to be face to face with death in such a way. But on the other hand, it was also the most profound and life changing moment of my life, too. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

While the time between grief stretches out a bit longer these days, it still hurts when I think about it.

I don’t ever want it to ever stop hurting.

Holga Love – “A game of Fetch in the Sandy River”



I think that since the Holga Factory is closing its doors it’s a given that my photoblog posts should feature images I’ve taken with a Holga. So from now until the end of the year I’ll post some of my favorites from the archives.

Here is one I took while hiking with friends at the Sandy River Delta about 3 years ago. It is one of my favorites. I’ve even made darkroom prints of it. There are a lot of shots from that roll that I really like. You can see more Holga shots from that day on this blog post.

Geeky Bits

Camera: Holga 120N
Film: Kodak TMax 400

Thankful for Holga


I learned yesterday that Holga is closing their doors. I thought that today I would post my first shots made with my Holga and talk about what it means to me.

It was a beautiful, sunny, December day on 2011. I decided to visit Blue Moon Camera And Machine to buy a Holga. I’d done a lot of research and decided that this was the first film camera I wanted to play with. I’d waffled on this decision for months. For some reason I was afraid to take the plunge. The siren song of film was calling me and I couldn’t deny it, but it took me a long time to follow. The day I bought my Holga was also my first visit to Blue Moon. It would be the first of many visits!

The person who sold me the Holga was the proprietor of Blue Moon himself, Jake Shivery. He helped me choose film and showed me how to load it and gave me advice on how to use it. I loaded it up with some Fuji Pro 400h and went out into the beautiful Portland December day and shot this photo


I went on to shoot a roll of Black and White film over Christmas. And many more rolls after that.

In fact, little did I know that my purchase of this camera would be the start of something big. The purchase of this camera opened me up to a whole wonderful world. If it wasn’t for this black hunk of plastic I wouldn’t be friends with all of these amazing, kind, and wonderful people all over the world. When I took the step to answer the siren call of film photography it changed my life. I am so glad I listened.

It is Thanksgiving today in America. I have a lot of things to be grateful for. But my little Holga is making me feel such gratitude for the film photography community, and the pinhole photography community. My life is so very much enriched because of all of you. Thank you.


See the first shots from my Holga in this post.
See the second roll of film through my Holga in this post (I get a little bit philosophical).
See the the rest of my Holga shots here.



A couple of weeks ago I attended the last retreat of this year’s Term Student program at my zen center. Since I shared the mandala from the last one, I thought I would also share this one, too.

These are always interesting to draw because there is no forethought put into it. The instruction is to draw something that represents what you have learned in the past 3 months. And then you just draw what bubbles up to the surface.

My vow for this term was to read the Heart Sutra everyday. The Heart Sutra is something that is chanted when our group meditates together,  and it is kind of awesome. I feel very drawn to it and thought I would read it everyday and just see what I could learn from it, without having any prior agenda.

It turns out I learned a lot

The person in the middle is me (obviously). I have my hand over my heart. On my right is the suffering I go through sometimes: depression, sadness, heartbreak, etc. On the left is the good stuff: love, happiness, joy. Above me is (supposed to be) Kanzeon, the Bodhisattva of compassion. On the ground below me are all of the things that have helped me learn and grow as a person. Books, my sketchbook, people/relationships. Something that is missing that I should have put there is a bottle of vitamins to represent the concept of  taking care of myself.

So here is what I learned: I learned about self-compassion. I learned that it is OK to suffer. I learned not to turn away from suffering, but to fully embrace it. And in that suffering I should have compassion for myself. I can be the one to comfort myself when I am suffering, I have that power.

For some reason this has been a huge lesson for me. I have talked about this idea before, this idea of learning to love myself. But there has always been something missing. I feel like I have now found the missing piece. Self compassion is the  missing piece.

I think in the past I have glossed over the suffering. Or I beat myself up for feeling bad. I think it’s because in our culture there is this idea that we are always supposed to be positive and happy. I think I’ve talked about this before too. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to be positive, no matter how hard I “try.” Sometimes things just completely suck. Sometimes I am just sad. Sometimes I am reminded of something that makes me cry. Sometimes I am in a lot of physical pain. Sometimes things don’t go my way. Sometimes life is suffering. You know what: THIS IS NORMAL. This is a normal part of life. And when I am experiencing these moments of suffering I can actually give myself compassion, just like I would have compassion for a friend or loved one.

This has been a huge revelation for me. And I think it is changing my life. It is certainly changing my outlook on life. Those moments of suffering are happening a little less than they were. And when they do happen I can help myself by feeling compassion for myself, instead of beating myself up (which has been my standard m.o. most of my life) for not being “happy enough.”

So what does this have to do with the Heart Sutra? I’m still not exactly sure. I think I am still learning that lesson. To be quite honest, the words of the Heart Sutra don’t exactly make a lot of sense to me and those moments when they do make sense they freak me out because I think it is talking about the idea of no-self, which kind of freaks me out. But I am still drawn to it and I want to learn more about it.  But, a serendipitous thing that I did learn these past few months: I learned that Avalokiteshvara (who is mentioned in the sutra) is the male embodiment of the Bodhisattva of compassion. I didn’t know this at the beginning of the three months. As Buddhism moved through China the Bodhisattva became female and the name became Guanyin, which translates to Kanzeon in Japanese. Kanzeon is the Bodhisattva at the top of my mandala, guiding my through this lesson of self-compassion. I started this thinking about how she could guide me and it looks like she did.


Side-note: If you are reading this and are interested in learning about self compassion, I can recommend Kristen Neff’s book: Self Compassion: The Proven Power of being Kind to Yourself. I mentioned in this blog post that I went to a workshop about compassion fatigue and this was one of the books recommended by the speaker.

A pinhole adventure to a secret location 


Yesterday the Mr and I went on a impromptu adventure with my brother-in-law. Originally we were going to go to the zoo but his brother called us in the morning and invited us to go hiking with him.

I decided to (finally) pick up a camera. Two, actually. My zero 2000 pinhole camera and my Olympus Trip. It had been a very long time since I used either one and thought I should give them both some love. The Trip I loaded with a roll of Fuji Superia and offered it up for a film swap on the Double Exposure and Film Swap Group.

I’ve only used the Trip once about a year ago, and it was a very rainy day so I was a bit distracted by the rain at the time. This time I really got a chance to enjoy it. What a fantastic little camera! I kind of love that you don’t really have to worry about focusing, aside from choosing a general idea of how far away the subject is. I also love that there is a little window that you can see through the viewfinder that shows what “distance graphic” you are on. It’s such an easy and fun little camera! I want to try shooting some street photography with it.

While we were at my brother-in-law’s house I was admiring his small collection of vintage cameras he had displayed on the shelf. He mentioned that he was going to sell all of them and offered to give me one as a Christmas present. I chose this really cool little Brownie Reflex! It’s awesome!  nice and compact. I even have some 127 film to load into it. I kind of also think this might make an interesting street photography camera, as well.

When we opened the camera up we found an ancient roll of exposed b&w film. I think I will develop it myself. I will have to resort to using my plastic reel though (ugh).

We ended up going to a super secret location and hiked to a waterfall. I have been told not to disclose the location of this place because it is a secret swimming/fishing hole.

It was really quite awesome though. There were two waterfalls, a bigger one and a smaller one. Here are a few photos I took on the scene. They really don’t do the place justice. Hopefully my pinhole shots are better.

apples and purses


The past couple of days I’ve been kind of obsessed interested in pencil sketching. I checked out the Winter 2015 edition of Drawing Magazine and found that they have beginner exercises so I tried the one for this issue – Featherstroke. The idea is to layer the shading until you get the effect you are going for.  I’m really having a lot of fun with it! Here is an apple and my purse.

The issue also features artists who use colored pencils and now I have a renewed interested in using colored pencils. I used them when I first started drawing and loved the convenience but switched to watercolor. I love the look of watercolor but it frustrates me because it is hard to have any control at all. I am thinking I may go back to colored pencils.

You can see more sketches at Gotta Sketch That Itch.